Spring Photo Goodness

I know, I know, another post of “Springtime” photos… Can it get any more cliche, right?  Well, the thing is, spring is inspiring.  After months of grays and browns, bare tree limbs, and barren lawns, we are finally getting some color back into our lives.  Flowers are blooming, pollen is flying, and our grass is about to need a trim.  And really, it’s lovely.  Lovely, I tell you.  So just suck it up and enjoy the sight of leaves unfurling and blooms happily waving on heavily laden branches that is the annual sign of new life and warmer days that we call: Spring.

 

 

Spring has Sprung!

I’ve been so busy running back and forth from my greenhouse to watch this happening:

That I totally missed this on the other side of my yard:

We’ve had 5 consecutive days of 70º weather, I’ve had my windows open since Thursday of last week, birds are singing, seeds are sprouting, and I bought a pair of sandals today…I think it’s safe to say that Spring has finally decided to grace us with it’s presence.  So far I’ve got radishes and brussels sprouts peeking out, and also some arugula that came from my first ever seed swap.  We’ll be tied up this weekend, and the next as well, but my garden should be officially in the ground by April 20.  I was a little worried that was going to be too late, but a coworker who is a Georgia Master Gardener told me that traditionally in Georgia gardens are started on tax day, so I’m not too far off.

Happy Spring Everybody!

 

 

Seedlings

 

And that, my friends, is how you start seeds.  I’m super duper excited about this since this is my first time starting my own plants.  It was very easy, and seems to be working well – I planted these on Wednesday and I already have sprouts.  The boxes I’m using are by Jiffy – I got them at Home Depot for a very good price, and I would definitely recommend them.  After planting my seeds I left them overnight with the lids on, per the instructions, and when I went back the next day to check on them, they were nice and steamy under the lid.  I know they’re staying warm at night, and not drying out, although I expect I’ll have to add water in a day or two.  I got two sizes – several with the smaller pellets like you see above, and then two that had larger pellets for my tomatoes.   It took mine 30-45 minutes to absorb all the water and fluff up completely, so be prepared for a little wait if you use these, but I quite like them and will probably buy the pellet refills and continue using them.

I’m having Easter house guests this weekend, so I’ll be cooking something wonderful (I hope!) and visiting with my family.  I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter, as well, and a beautiful weekend!

Optimistic Foliage

Well readers, I finally have my garden down on paper.  I’ve got a neat little diagram with all my notes about sowing dates, planting dates, last frosts, first frosts, proper spacing, light requirements, etc. scribbled in the margins.  Actually it’s not “neat” at all, it’s quite messy, but I feel OK about that seeing as how it’s a garden and they’re supposed to be inherently messy anyway, aren’t they?  My only problem now is that it’s still to early to do anything…too early to plant, and too early to channel my burst of enthusiasm into tangible results.  I took the dog out for his romp around the yard, and as my productivity-induced high disappated in the face of a winter brown landscape, I saw this:

Lovely Eucalyptus

Lovely Eucalyptus

Lovely isn’t it?   From that view you’d never know it wasn’t spring or summer time.  Amazing how something so simple as brightly-hued foliage can lift my spirits.   Enjoy!

Link Love

Remember how I told you all about my gardening plans the other day?  And my new sewing machine a few days later?  Well, I’ve been kind of wrapped up in those things – I don’t have a huge amount of experience with either of them, so I’ve been surfing the web, reading books, trying to learn as much as I can so I can put all my big plans into action.  I thought I’d share some of the websites and blogs that I’ve found useful.  Enjoy!  And by all means, please share any helpful links you may have found as well.

Sewing in a Straight Line – This book looks amazing!  I must have it.  Also, her website is great too.

Tilly and the Buttons – some great info for beginners here.

Keeper of the Home – lots of great home-making ideas here, but I found the Gardening 101 articles to be particularly helpful.

Six Sisters Stuff – a great site for crafts and sewing.  I had this recommended to me by a friend, and I think it’ll be my first sewing project.

Threads Magazine – I just found this one and haven’t had much time to peruse it yet, but it looks like there are some good things here.

Walter Reeves – known as the Georgia Gardener, I have gotten both his flower and vegetable gardening books.  I know this won’t help much if you don’t live in Georgia, but if you do, his site is invaluable.

Pinterest – I can’t stay away from here.  But it is a huge source of inspiration…lots of cool ideas and sites I may not have found on my own.

MountainHike-1

Hope you all have a great Monday (oxymoronic?), and maybe find some of your own inspiration here…and don’t forget to share!

 

 

The Farm Family

Feb2013-1

This is where I grew up…in fact, I cleared that pasture when it was all blackberries and brambles, and you couldn’t walk through it without the fear of sticking your foot in a hole that you couldn’t see or stubbing your toe on a giant rock half-buried in the ground.  When my parents bought this place in 2000, there were no pastures at all – there had once been, but they had been let go, and had grown up until they were impassable with any sort of motorized vehicle.  I’m not kidding – you’d have needed the mars rover to get through it.  We cleared the land by hand – my mama, my stepdad, my sister and I.  And now it’s covered with grass (mostly.  When it rains anyway.) for most of the year, and populated with Red Angus cattle, Katahdin sheep, and Tamworth pigs.  My parents raise all natural, grass-fed animals with no antibiotics, no hormones, no bad-for-you additives.  They get grass and hay; even the pigs graze, although being natural omnivores, they do receive a supplemental pig feed in carefully measured amounts, as well as whey, a natural by-product of the cheese making process that they love and is full of nutrients.

Feb2013-3

Farm-1

 

Mostly, they just roam around chowing down on all that grass and providing me with endless entertainment and photo opportunities.  You can see that they’d much rather cool off in their drinking water than use it for it’s intended purpose. They are all well-fed, well-cared for, and well-loved – they’re not very shy, and will usually come up to investigate when we visit their domain.

Feb2013-4

 

That little cutie is the first lamb of 2013, although judging by the size of the lady on the left, he will (very!) soon be joined by twins or even triplets.  My parents lost their ram last year – the stud of the flock – and it’s possible that this little guy will be stepping up to fill his hooves.  He’s anxiously awaiting his name – it’s taking a while to come up with something suitably impressive.

Feb2013-5

 

I really miss being on the farm every day – when I was kid it just seemed like work, work, and more work, but now I can see how valuable our experiences there were.  We learned how to work hard – pasture clearing, see above; we learned skills most people have no concept of – for instance, can you deworm and vaccinate horses, sheep, cattle, pigs, dogs, and cats? or shoe them, or trim their feet or toenails? or clean 18 stalls before 10 am?; and we got to experience some of the coolest things ever – like a half-hour old lamb/calf/horse try to stand up and find it’s mama for the first time.   It’s work like you wouldn’t believe.  Folks aren’t joking when they say “up with sun” – I had to be at the barn to feed at 7am everyday, including holidays, and we didn’t go in the house until everyone was fed and watered at night, and that might be 6pm or 10pm depending on how your day went.  I’ve hauled 400 bales of hay in from the field, off the trailer, into the barn, then into the stalls in an afternoon – but I’ve also ridden through the Talladega National Forest in the springtime when everything is blooming and the horses are frisky.  All of the work is balanced out by some miraculous event, or birth, or experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.   I learned so much, and gained so much appreciation for the land, the animals, the seasons, that I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Adventure Awaits!

Ohmygoodness!

Ohmygoodness.  Do I have the best husband or what?  I showed you all my birthday surprise last week – as if flowers, chocolates, and a sparkly surprise (I didn’t show you, but take my work for it, it’s lovely) aren’t the best thing a girl could ask for on her birthday, I got this in the mail a couple of days ago.  I told you how I’ve been feeling so inspired lately; well, now I have an outlet for all those creative juices bubbling about.  I’ve been contemplating buying one of these bad boys for a while now, but I’ve been dragging my feet since I know absolutely nothing about sewing (unless watching 12 seasons of Project Runway counts as experience? No? Oh well).  Well no more excuses!  I’ve got my eye on a beginners sewing class at the Atlanta Sewing Center, and hopefully I’ll be making Tim Gunn proud in no time.

In other news: I’ll be heading out to my parents’ farm tomorrow to lend a hand – and I’m taking volunteers.  Anyone interested in hard labor with few immediate benefits, but extremely enticing long term rewards including, but not limited to increased muscle tone, access to high quality grass-fed meats and abundant fresh air, and the likelihood that you’ll fall asleep immediately upon becoming horizontal is welcome to join me.   Oh, and did I mention the breathtaking views of Alabama farm country?  There’s no place like home!

Farm-1

Farm-2

Farm-4

Farm-3

That’s me feeding greedy guts there a couple of years ago – I love being on the farm, and especially when there are adorable critters like that to visit with.  Here’s hoping for good weather tomorrow so I can get some pictures of this year’s new additions – lambs and pigs were born recently, so photo opportunities abound if we can get some decent sunlight.

I hope all of you have a lovely Friday!

The “dog days” of winter

Maybe you haven’t heard, but winter is pretty much over.  Oh, you haven’t heard that?  Because it’s 14° in North Dakota right now, you may argue that is, in fact, still winter.  But here in Winston, Georgia it’s 72°.  Seventy-two degrees people.  And that does not constitute winter weather in my book.  I’ve actually missed winter this year – I mean I have like 3 pairs of tall boots and I can hardly justify wearing them when it’s too warm for socks.   I’m pretty much the only one in my house who’s upset though.  My husband has been waiting impatiently for warm weather (and motorcycle riding/track day season) since September, and the dog is happiest when the weather is conducive to his people being out of doors with him.   And with weather this lovely, we’re happy to oblige him.  These photos are from a day last week when my husband returned from being out of town – Tucker much prefers for Jacob to play with since he’s a little more enthusiastic about it than I am.  It may have something to do with the fact that I’m usually trying to get him to sit! stay! pose for the camera! while Jacob encourages his short attention span and high energy antics by throwing things for him.

playtime

 

after it!

 

I got it!

 

How’s the weather where you are?

 

A Sneaking Suspicion

Project 365.4-2

Some of you know that we recently moved into a new home.  We upgraded from a half acre lot in a subdivision to 3 acres in a more rural area.  I love love love my new home, but the one thing I do miss from subdivision living is the oppurtunity for walking the dog.  The road we now live on is fairly well traveled, and there are no sidewalks, so there’s really no where for us to take our daily walk.  So instead I’ve gotten in the habit of taking Tucker out and letting him run around the yard while I meander after him with either a cup of coffee or my camera.  Most of our 3 acres is in our backyard, behind which is a 50 or so acre pasture with cows and assorted livestock which endlessly fascinate my Bassett Hound, and we both enjoy our ramblings around the property.  Even though we’ve been moved in for almost 2 months now I still seem to find something new each time I go outside, and today my discovery was this (these actually; there are maybe 10 of these right behind my grapevines).  They are small shrubs, or bushes, and I have noticed them before but have never really looked very closely.  Because they’re laid out very precisely in two rows, I’m fairly sure they’re another edible something or other, and I strongly suspect that they’re blueberries, but I’m not 100% sure.

Project 365.4-1

I know it’s a little hard to tell, what with the foliage all hiding away for the winter, but anyone have any ideas as to what they might be??